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November 15, 2008

No more concessions, UAW's Gettelfinger says

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger said today that the union won’t make any more concessions and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy.

“The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract,” Gettelfinger told reporters on a conference call, noting the labor costs now make up 8% to 10% of the cost of a vehicle. “We have made dramatic, dramatic changes and the UAW was applauded for that,” he said.

Instead, Gettelfinger blamed the problems the auto industry is suffering from on things beyond its control — the housing slump, the credit crunch that has made financing a vehicle tough and the 1.2 million jobs that have been lost in the past year.

“We’re here not because of what the auto industry has done,” he said. “We’re here because of what has happened to the economy.

Gettelfinger also called on Congress to act quickly on a bailout plan for the auto industry, saying action is necessary before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.


He said if one automaker were to file for bankruptcy, the others may follow. He said the automakers would find it difficult to restructure under bankruptcy laws and instead could end up out of business. “Would you buy a car from a bankrupt automaker?” he asked.

The Center for Automotive Research, which gets funding from the auto industry, has warned that the collapse of the Big Three could set off a catastrophic chain reaction in the economy, eliminating up to 3 million jobs and more than $150 billion in tax revenue over the next three years.

Gettelfinger called on Congress to act quickly to provide loans to help the automakers until the economy improves and the automakers can move ahead with their plans to become more competitive. “We cannot afford to allow to see this industry collapse. There is a real concern that could happen.”

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC are seeking $25 billion from the government to get them through the economic crisis and the worst sales slump in more than 25 years. GM appears to be in the worst shape, warning that it can’t borrow from normal sources.

GM, the nation’s largest automaker, said it had $16.2 billion in cash at the end of September, raising the possibility that the company will fall below the minimum of $11 billion to $14 billion needed for daily operations by the end of the year.

Democrats in the lame-duck Congress are pressing for a bailout of Detroit’s Big Three with money from the $700-billion Wall Street rescue package. But President George W. Bush and many Republicans have come out against the idea, arguing that the financial rescue package wasn’t intended for such uses, and that a bailout would reward poor management and lead other industries to demand government handouts.

LINK:No more concessions, UAW's Gettelfinger says | | Detroit Free Press

I agree and others won't but enough is enough! I know there are still costs in labor and maintenance but why don't all the Auto Companies just shut their factories down for 6 months? It's not like they don't have enough vehicles in Dealers lots or stockpiled? Has to be some savings there. Anyway saw in the paper today that GM has been burning through about 3.1 million an hour or $52K a minute in recent months. WOW Guess they don't use Quicken to estimate their next months checking account balance!
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